The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston: A new standard of luxury

By Trish Donnally Public Relations Manager, Perkins Eastman | August 05, 2018

The recent opening of The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston dramatically raises the standard for luxury in Houston as well as anywhere else in the country. Elegantly ensconced within a soaring vertical mixed-use tower that also includes fashionable restaurants, top-drawer retail shops and 10 floors of trophy office space, the hotel offers its own Rolls-Royce showroom along with an adjacent Bentley and Bugatti dealership. Tilman Fertitta, host of CNBC's "Billion Dollar Buyer," owner of the Houston Rockets, and Chairman, CEO and owner of Landry's Inc., owns this one-of-a-kind, $350 million, 10-acre property, which provides almost every luxury imaginable, including a rooftop helipad for guests arriving by private helicopter.

"The catalyst was user experience," said Raffael Scasserra, LEED-AP, RA, Gensler Principal and Design Director. Gensler Houston, collaborating with Fertitta and his in-house development team, designed the master plan, architecture and interior finishes for The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston at 1600 West Loop South. While the focus of the program was originally purely for a classic, timeless and stylish hotel, it quickly grew into an exciting vertical mixed-use project that would include offices, extended stay spaces, retailing and dining. Throughout the process of creating The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston, which was designed to be a Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond hotel, the Gensler team designed through the perspective of a global, well-traveled and sophisticated client.

"We had a great dialog with Tilman. He was the visionary behind the pursuit to create a Houston icon. We built upon the vision quickly. The project was constantly evolving, it was very iterative," Scasserra continued. By incorporating hospitality features at the base, topped with offices, sandwiching in luxury guestrooms, adding more offices higher up including Landry's executive offices, plus the 5,000-square-foot Presidential Suite, Post Oak Suite, Concierge Lounge and VIP Lounge, all crowned with a helipad on the roof, Gensler provided a high level of amenity offerings plus very curated experiences.

"The vision Tilman had was not only of a high-level environment of a hotel, and a high level of service, but a high level of experience," Scasserra said. "He talked about having a gourmet meal delivered to an office space, taking a private helicopter to a meeting and returning for an exclusive meeting in the VIP Lounge. As a luxury product, I don't know of too many other cities that offer this kind of experience."

Fertitta's Post Oak Motor Cars, home to Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Bugatti Houston, and his headquarters were already on the property, so Gensler created a campus plan with walkable allees, streetscapes and boulevards to connect the various buildings on the property, respecting the materiality of what already existed. The firm designed a 700,000-square-foot tower with the refined quality and famous attention to detail found in a Rolls-Royce.
 
The journey begins the moment you enter the two-story atrium lobby with seemingly acres of white marble. A mesmerizing custom-designed chandelier, inspired by the opulence of an Oscar-worthy necklace, shimmers and glistens with 15,719 cascading crystals. "Each of those Bohemian crystal glass components was handblown, and 739 of them are Swarovski crystal balls at the end of each strand," said Gail McCleese, RID, Interior Design Director of Gensler. She traveled with Landry's Senior Designer, Monet Dehmer, to the Lasvit factory in Czechia to oversee the creation of the bespoke chandelier, which also includes 1,428 LED light sources. This chandelier was designed to dazzle, to provide a "Wow" factor the moment a guest enters the lobby. It's the kind of unexpected element hotel owners and operators of luxury properties are looking for these days.

Four monumental Ebony Woodridge stone pillars anchor and frame the immense seating area, which features a custom-designed, abstract, hand-tufted silk and wool rug in neutral shades and various curvaceous beige leather sofas surrounded by burnt orange or ombre taupe velvet chairs. Color comes from massive works of art by Frank Stella. Natural light washes across the lobby, creating an openness and transparency rare in most hotel lobbies.

Gensler Houston was master planner, architect and interior designer for The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston, a grand new hotel owned by Tilman Fertitta, Chairman, CEO and owner of Landry's Inc.
The Lobby of The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston is crowned by a custom-designed chandelier made of 15,719 handblown Bohemian crystal glass components and provides a view directly to the pool..
The bathrooms in the luxurious guestrooms at The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston feature five fixtures, statuario marble, a chandelier, lighted mirrors and marble mosaic rugs.
Strategically wrapping a two-story Rolls-Royce showroom around a sculptural white marble and polished chrome spiral staircase crowned by a chandelier of twisted glass rods.
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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.